A couple of years ago, I wrote a collaborative post with a friend. A friend I met at university who I most definitely have not done a good job of keeping in touch with, just like all of my other friends. I am terrible at keeping in touch. Actually, I feel a deep inner wince every time I hear the phrase "keep in touch" because I fail at it so successfully. Anyone who knows me will know that they will inevitably see me at some point, though. It will be at a random event (at the pub, someone's house, a Christmas Light Switch-On), at which I repeatedly state to the group, "it's so weird that I'm out the house" (for a social reason, obviously). Usually I will have a completely different hair cut and/or colour that people will be shocked to see because the last time they saw me I was definitely settled on keeping the last one for a long time. That's because it will have been a long time. At this event, I will continue to vow to leave the house (for social reasons) more often and arrange to meet up with everyone more frequently. Everyone around me will listen and laugh knowingly, because they are all aware that they aren't going to see me again for another six months. I truly appreciate and admire my friends and their ability to make me feel as though not a single second has passed since we last spoke. Thank you all for understanding this part of me.
The best part of time passing is the experiences you have, the lessons you learn and the feeling of growth you have when you look back on who you were. I used to hate that horrible sinking feeling of remembering a past self and cringing at the things I thought, the things I said and did, and even the things I felt. However, I have learned a very important lesson relatively early on in life - that if you look back on your younger self and cringe, it means you've done a lot of growing, which can only be a good thing. I look forward to one day looking back on this post at my 23-year-old self and thinking about how much growing I had in front of me, and maybe even cringing a little bit too. It's also worth mentioning that everyone who has seen the meme with a fluffy dog sitting under a white board which says "if you look back on your younger self and cringe, it means you've grown", or words to that effect, have also learned this lesson as well. Just so we're clear about my methods of growth.
At this point, I got halfway through writing quite a detailed letter to myself at various ages until I realised that this is all I need to write.
Dear Younger Me,
No matter what happens, you will make it through the other side. I am evidence of that. I trust that you will do your best, and make the choices you feel are right at the time. None of it is your fault. None of it. Don't give up on yourself, it gets better.
No matter what painful experiences have taught you, and how much you've grown through them, you can't go back and give yourself a list of "things I wish I'd known". Take comfort that you know them now. Don't be frustrated when you can't save others from the same thing, they have a right to learn things for themselves.
See you soon, saplings